Last night, the Blue Jackets played host to the Minnesota Wild, in their first home pre-season game of the year. The big line of Nash, Brassard, and Huselius were together, firing on all cylinders, and all seemed well. While Minnesota only had a handful of NHLers in the lineup, Columbus took the opportunity and ran with it, scoring five goals, and taking full control of the game.
While I would normally break down some of the finer points of the game, I think it is time for me to step in ahead of many hockey pundits "chirping away" at what was an 0-3 pre-season record for Columbus. Conceptually, the pre-season is designed to warm up for the season, get the developing youth of the front lines, and experiment with systems. So far, this tactic has been extremely useful for Columbus, as it has really allowed John Moore to stand out and make a name for himself.
Even on some of the Jackets-centric sites I have seen some negativity towards their play, making me wonder if they even bothered reading the scoresheet, let alone watching the game. In at least two of the games, Garon played great hockey until he was replace by an up and comer. In fact, I believe in both situations, the Jackets had the lead up until that point.... pretty impressive for 10-15 AHLers and a backup goaltender.
I think the best advice I can give about the NHL pre-season, is do not treat it like any other sport might. This is a chance to truly experiment for coaching staffs and young players, and a team like the Jackets would be foolish to not take full advantage of that.
Carry the Flag! Let's bring down the Bruins tonight!